Technical Terms

Like any other specialization, project management in information technology brings with it a lot of its own terms that may be unclear to outsiders, or have a different meaning.

The concept of triple constraint for example, means a variety of thing in a variety of industries. A selection common terms ...

PM Glossary (selection)

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Actual Cost (AC). The realized cost incurred for the work performed on an activity during a specific time period.

Adaptive Life cycle. A project life cycle, also known as change-driven or agile methods, that is intended to facilitate change and require a high degree of ongoing stakeholder involvement. Adaptive life cycles are also iterative and incremental, but differ in that iterations are very rapid (usually 2–4 weeks in length) and are fixed in time and resources.



Backlog. A listing of product requirements and deliverables to be completed, written as stories, and prioritized by the business to manage and organize the project's work.

Baseline. The approved version of a work product that can be changed only through formal change control procedures and is used as a basis for comparison.

Benchmarking. Benchmarking is the comparison of actual or planned practices, such as processes and operations, to those of comparable organizations to identify best practices, generate ideas for improvement, and provide a basis for measuring performance.

Bottom-Up Estimating. A method of estimating project duration or cost by aggregating the estimates of the lower-level components of the work breakdown structure (WBS).

Brainstorming. A general data gathering and creativity technique that can be used to identify risks, ideas, or solutions to issues by using a group of team members or subject matter experts.

Budget. The approved estimate for the project or any work breakdown structure component or any schedule activity.

Budget At Completion (BAC). The sum of all budgets established for the work to be performed.



Change Control Board (CCB). A formally chartered group responsible for reviewing, evaluating, approving, delaying, or rejecting changes to the project, and for recording and communicating such decisions.

Change Request. A formal proposal to modify any document, deliverable, or baseline.

Contingency Reserve. Budget within the cost baseline or performance measurement baseline that is allocated for identified risks that are accepted and for which contingent or mitigating responses are developed.

Corrective Action. An intentional activity that realigns the performance of the project work with the project management plan.

Cost Performance Index (CPI). A measure of the cost efficiency of budgeted resources expressed as the ratio of earned value to actual cost.

Cost Variance (CV). The amount of budget deficit or surplus at a given point in time, expressed as the difference between the earned value and the actual cost.

Cost-Benefit Analysis. A financial analysis tool used to determine the benefits provided by a project against its costs.

Critical Path. The sequence of activities that represents the longest path through a project, which determines the shortest possible duration.

Critical Path Method. A method used to estimate the minimum project duration and determine the amount of scheduling flexibility on the logical network paths within the schedule model.



Deliverable. Any unique and verifiable product, result, or capability to perform a service that is required to be produced to complete a process, phase, or project.



Earned Value (EV). The measure of work performed expressed in terms of the budget authorized for that work.

Earned Value Management. A methodology that combines scope, schedule, and resource measurements to assess project performance and progress.

Enterprise Environmental Factors. Conditions, not under the immediate control of the team, that influence, constrain, or direct the project, program, or portfolio.



Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS). A hierarchical representation of the project organization that illustrates the relationship between project activities and the organizational units that will perform those activities.



Pareto Diagram. A histogram, ordered by frequency of occurrence, that shows how many results were generated by each identified cause.

Planned Value (PV). The authorized budget assigned to scheduled work.

Portfolio. Projects, programs, subportfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.

Process. A systematic series of activities directed towards causing an end result such that one or more inputs will be acted upon to create one or more outputs.

Process Analysis. A process analysis follows the steps outlined in the process improvement plan to identify needed improvements.

Product Analysis. For projects that have a product as a deliverable, it is a tool to define scope that generally means asking questions about a product and forming answers to describe the use, characteristics, and other the relevant aspects of what is going to be manufactured.

Product Life cycle. The series of phases that represent the evolution of a product, from concept through delivery, growth, maturity, and to retirement.

Program Management. The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program to meet the program requirements and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing projects individually.

Progressive Elaboration. The iterative process of increasing the level of detail in a project management plan as greater amounts of information and more accurate estimates become available.

Project. A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

Project Charter. A document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.

Project Life cycle. The series of phases that a project passes through from its initiation to its closure.

Project Management. The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

Project Management office (PMO). An organizational structure that standardizes the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques.

Project Manager (PM). The person assigned by the performing organization to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives.

Project Schedule. An output of a schedule model that presents linked activities with planned dates, durations, milestones, and resources.

Project Scope. The work performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.

Project Stakeholder Management. Project Stakeholder Management includes the processes required to identify all people or organizations impacted by the project, analyzing stakeholder expectations and impact on the project, and developing appropriate management strategies for effectively engaging stakeholders in project decisions and execution.

Prototypes. A method of obtaining early feedback on requirements by providing a working model of the expected product before actually building it.



Quality Management Plan. A component of the project or program management plan that describes how an organization's quality policies will be implemented.



Risk Avoidance. A risk response strategy whereby the project team acts to eliminate the threat or protect the project from its impact

Risk Management Plan. A component of the project, program, or portfolio management plan that describes how risk management activities will be structured and performed.

Root Cause Analysis. An analytical technique used to determine the basic underlying reason that causes a variance or a defect or a risk. A root cause may underlie more than one variance or defect or risk.



Schedule Management Plan. A component of the project management plan that establishes the criteria and the activities for developing, monitoring, and controlling the schedule.

Schedule Performance Index (SPI). A measure of schedule efficiency expressed as the ratio of earned value to planned value.

Schedule Variance (SV). A measure of schedule performance expressed as the difference between the earned value and the planned value.

Scope. The sum of the products, services, and results to be provided as a project. See also project scope and product scope.

Scope Baseline. The approved version of a scope statement, work breakdown structure (WBS), and its associated WBS dictionary, that can be changed only through formal change control procedures and is used as a basis for comparison.

Scope Change. Any change to the project scope. A scope change almost always requires an adjustment to the project cost or schedule.

Scope Creep. The uncontrolled expansion to product or project scope without adjustments to time, cost, and resources.

Scope Management Plan. A component of the project or program management plan that describes how the scope will be defined, developed, monitored, controlled, and verified.

Stakeholder Analysis. A technique of systematically gathering and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information to determine whose interests should be taken into account throughout the project.

Statement Of Work (SOW). A narrative description of products, services, or results to be delivered by the project.

SWOT Analysis. Analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of an organization, project, or option.



Trend Analysis. An analytical technique that uses mathematical models to forecast future outcomes based on historical results. It is a method of determining the variance from a baseline of a budget, cost, schedule, or scope parameter by using prior progress reporting periods' data and projecting how much that parameter's variance from baseline might be at some future point in the project if no changes are made in executing the project.

Triple Constraint. A model of the constraints of project management and a graphic aid where the three attributes show on the corners of the triangle. Traditionally, these constraints have been listed as "scope" (quality), "time", and "cost".



WBS Dictionary. A document that provides detailed deliverable, activity, and scheduling information about each component in the work breakdown structure.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). A hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.

Workaround. A response to a threat that has occurred, for which a prior response had not been planned or was not effective.


Source: Project Management Institute (PMI)